Bentley and the civil rights billCongresswoman Helen...

the Forum

July 25, 1991

Bentley and the civil rights bill

Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley's article, "Why I oppose the civil rights bill" (Other Voices, July 22) places her squarely in the same company as Jesse Helms and David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader turned Republican. Both give the same reasons as Mrs. Bentley for opposing the bill - that it is a "quota bill" that gives the jobs of white workers to minorities.

The truth of the matter is that the Civil Rights Act of 1991 does nothing more than restore civil rights legislation that has been in effect for the past 18 years until undermined by Reagan's Supreme Court. Its only purpose is to protect working people from discrimination regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin. It reaffirms the basic concept of equal opportunity for all. I challenge Mrs. Bentley to prove otherwise.

Mrs. Bentley's protestation that her vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was due to her concern that "it will not aid minorities in the long run and may cause many of them to become unemployed," is little more than a cover-up for an outright racist position. She knows better than the leaders of the African-American community, the Chicano-Mexican, Puerto Rican and other minorities - all of whom strongly support this bill - what is best for them.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is in the best interests of all working people, black, white and brown, male and female. That is why it has the unqualified support of such organizations as the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, the Urban League and dozens of other democratically minded organizations.

Let us hope Congresswoman Bentley sees the light when it comes time to vote to override President Bush's threatened veto.

George A. Meyers


No apartheid here

Glenn McNatt omits one vital fact in his discussion of the imaginary apartheid which he claims exists in the ghettos of the inner cities of the United States ("Our domestic apartheid," July 17).

Apartheid, as practiced in South Africa, results from mandated legal restrictions. Blacks are not allowed to vote; they must live in specified areas. In this country there are no such laws specifically restricting the activities of our black citizens.

Paul Slepian


Right to know more

On July 11, 25 members of Congress introduced the Community Right to Know More Act of 1991. This critical legislation is a major component of a nationwide drive to reduce the public health threats posed by toxic chemicals.

The 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, passed in the wake of the Union Carbide explosion in Bhopal, India, first required industries to publicly report on toxic chemicals released into their neighborhoods. In some cases it has spurred industries to reduce their use of toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately, however, the limited number of chemicals and facilities covered by the original act means that only an estimated 5 percent of the toxic releases into the environment are reported. In addition, the law fails to provide the public with any information on toxic chemicals produced and used by these same companies.

The Community Right to Know More Act of 1991 expands the toxic release inventory to include chemicals already found to be hazardous under other environmental laws. The bill also expands the list of covered facilities beyond the manufacturing sector and closes loopholes in the existing reporting system. Finally, the Community Right to Know More Act requires industries to report on chemical use and production and to develop goals for reducing their toxic chemical use. By reducing the overall use of toxic chemicals, industry can prevent the generation o hazardous wastes and reduce liability and risks in the workplace.

We strongly encourage the members of Maryland's congressional delegation to co-sponsor this bill. It provides us with an opportunity to turn the corner toward a clean, safe environment and enter the 21st century with a reduced toxic burden on government, industry and the public.

Daniel Pontious

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Public Interest A Research Group. See Neil Solomon article below. 0

Schaefer's antics

I am continually amazed at the antics of the governor of this state. One could never guess Maryland had a budget deficit when one reads about the incredible amount of tax money he has spent to renovate the state executive mansion, particularly after fabricating the story that it was being paid for from private donations.

State workers are being forced to work five extra hours a week, even though they were hired to work 35, and they are forced to do this with no extra remuneration. I guess this is the means by which the governor is paying for the mansion's renovations.

Maybe the state workers should take possession of it. Perhaps we should also change the title of the current state chief executive from governor to Fuhrer. George W. Jensen


Cadet surfeit

Why is it that every July we are "treated" to the privilege of reading about the new cadets at he Naval Academy, then in June about the antics of the graduates?

Are those entering the academy any different from those "recruits" and graduates of the University of Maryland, Towson, Catonsville?

It's time we praise all those entering and graduating from institutions of higher learning. Please, enough of the Naval Academy!

Tamara Levitas

Owings Mills

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